Exclusive Hong Kong club would have Bond shaken and stirred

HONG KONG, May 16, 2006 (AFP) – With the click of a switch, brightly polished restaurant tables lift almost magically into the ceiling and from sliding panels in the floor ice buckets emerge in time for the waiter who arrives with the champagne. As the drinks are served the main back wall lifts slowly to reveal a huge aquarium dominated by an imposing hammerhead shark.

It’s no accident that the prospect of a night at M1NT, the exclusive members’ bar due to open in Hong Kong in September, sounds uncannily like a night in the high-tech lair of one of movie spy James Bond’s villains.

“One of our partners is a Bond and gadget freak — he’s living his fantasy in designing this bar,” says M1NT founder and chief executive Alistair Paton.

With 25 million Hong Kong dollars (more than three million US) earmarked for the project on the fringe of the downtown business district, M1NT Hong Kong promises to be the most technologically dazzling bar in Asia.

Adding to the Bond-esque atmosphere, members will have to pass a fingerprint recognition scanner to gain entry and the bar will be staffed by security personnel trained to protect their high value customers.

Such are the trappings necessary to attract the sort of super-rich clientele Pato